T Nation

No Gym for a While...


So I'll be sans a gym for about a month or so, and I can already feel myself tweaking, especially since my last week in a gym was used for deloading!

I'm a female powerlifter and I just recently set a goal for a 285 deadlift and I don't want this gym-less time period to set me back. I have no idea how to make improvements or even just maintain what I can do without any equipment. I don't even own a pair of dumbbells!

I'm absolutely dreadful at planks and push-ups so I figured now would be a good time to work on that. I could also use this time to really up my flexibility and mobility. I'm just extremely worried my lifts are going to go down a ton in this time.

I haven't been lifting a year yet so I'm still pretty much a big newbie at all of this. Any suggestions for bodyweight exercises to keep my strength up?


Some of what is said here may help -- a lot of pointers to bodyweight stuff: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/gyms_closing_for_3_month_refurb_need_equipmentless

I would also makeshift weights as best you can, probably look to strongman training for ideas -- a lot of people find the heavy flips and pickups help their deadlift, for instance. Anything on your back good be good for goodmornings. Also, what I said on the other thread was: "Regarding makeshift equipment, I sometimes front squat girlfriends, and have briefcase deadlifted a cousin and overhead pressed children. You can always find stuff to lift, and if you want to go heavier just get more of them."


Oh, and if you write out a routine and want to post it here for feedback I'm sure people can give some helpful pointers or let you know what similar things have worked for them.


Thanks for the advice! That thread is full of great ideas. Good thing I kept all my old textbooks!


You might want to have a look at ' You are your own gym' (book) by Mark Lauren. This has been my reference to body weight exercises.


i'd invest in some resistance bands. maybe get some handles, too. might take some figuring of stuff you can attach them to, but you might well be able to practice squats, deads, etc if you can hook 'em up right.


Get some empty five gallon buckets, fillem with dirt, rocks, etc. and get to walking. There's quite a few articles on here on farmer walk variations that should kick your ass for four weeks.

"Seriously, if you aren't already including farmer's walks in your programming, start! They're often discussed as a "bang for your buck" exercise for the core and grip, but let's think about the effect they have on training upper-back tightness. Your upper-traps are held under tension for the entirety of the lift (just like the deadlift), your mid and lower-traps as well as rhomboids have to work to retract and depress your scaps for you to hold proper posture, and your lats have to be pulled tight to support everything."

Plus, there's a million and one uses for empty five gallon buckets. If you have little ones, don't even waste money on a kiddy pool.


I was thinking the same thing as above as a good start except with 20l jerry cans (water containers) somewhat easier to carry.

Improvisation is the key--1 example is that where i live right next to woodland i have lashed a pull up bar between 2 small trees--and that is just a sapling and some cheap rope, another one forms a dip bar.

Weight is all around us in some form or another, i had a look in the garage when i had the same problem and here are the things i found
Boat anchors
Lead acid battery--real heavy.
Jerry cans

All sorts of lifting ideas generated right there but following some basic rules :
Lift weight off the ground
Get it overhead
Carry it around
Rinse and repeat !!

That was just a start.

Then just on a walk around the woods i noticed all this ..yes..wood lying around and hey ho new exercise 'rucking' up and down the valley heaving loads of firewood around.

Start noticing structures--places to pull up on, for me that is branches and the rafters in my garage.

Then there are the basic exercises done anywhere with no kit whatsoever and all about just moving yourself around.
Press ups--all variants
Planks--all variants
Russian twists
Squats and pistols especially single limb.

Create your own games : 2 of mine
Every time i walk under my pull up bar i have to do a set of chins
Every time i get up off the sofa i have to do 10 press ups.

Use the month to go mad for conditioning, find hills and run up them, find sets of stairs and run up them, run around with weights.

Get creative...have fun...get outside...


So here is what I ended up doing today, all outside:

Warm up: 10 min walk in heat (it's 100 + degrees right now)
Lunges -> Hip Flexor Stretch / Twist x 10 each side
Hip Openers -> Hip Closers
1-leg Hip Bridges x 8 each side
Box Jumps x 10 (Onto a picnic table!)

3 x 15 Squat with backpack on back, not sure how much this weighed. I put all my old textbooks in it so I'm guessing around 50 lbs.
3 x 15 Squat with backpack on front
3 x 8 Bulgarian Split Squat with backpack on back, a little lighter weight.

I had every intention of going on to do planks, reverse hypers off the table as well as 2 1-minute stair runs with the backpack on, but I was completely dead by this point because of the heat. I was already taking way too much rest in between sets. As I was feeling like I was about to pass out, I decided to save the planks / hypers for later when I was indoors.

The new gym I'll be going to soon has no AC. If this is how bad I feel after around an hour outside I guess it'll do me some good to spend this month just getting my conditioning up in the heat. I'm definitely a cold person.


That sounds like a good start...hard work in the heat mind you. Maybe time your workouts for a cooler part of the day until you acclimatise a bit.


Sears or Wal-Mart probably has a cheap bar and plates set that you can get for cheap. But if all else fails buy a stability ball and a zumba fitness video. Zumba workouts actually have immense carryover to almost all other fitness applications. They also give you toned abz.


If there is one piece of useful gear that i would really reccomend at home its a pull up bar, i have bolted a fixed one over the back door and my current game is chins or pull ups every time i go out of the back door.



There's a passage in Arnold's Encylopedia of Modern Body Building that always sticks in my mind. Even when he was in the military, he found a way to improvise an exercise everyday. Lots of that creativity has been posted here in this thread already.


jumpstretch/elitefts bands


I'm trying to think through this a bit more with your goals: power lifter going for 285 pull, could use the month to work on planks, push-ups, flexibility and mobility, but do not want main lifts to go down.

Hopefully the pushups will help keep your bench wherever it is, and you can weight the pushups with your backpack to increase the load as needed. I would think you would want to find some way to go heavy about once a week for something like the main lifts, so maybe a weighted pushup and a variation of the squat, deadlift or goodmorning variation (which westside seems to find works well for squats and deadlift).

For that I would just find something of about the right weight for you that will be really heavy and that you can position somehow, and rep out on it. Then maybe two days of total body body-weight work (focusing on pushups, planks, and whatever), and you can do flexibility/mobility work everyday that you want to.

In any case, in your position I would write down my goals and then pick the exercises and program that will best help achieve them. Of course, just taking a month to toy around won't kill you and even if you lose strength you will bounce back quickly -- it is only a month.